Pittsburgh Half Training: Week 13

What a week! It wasn't a great start. As I said Wednesday, I felt extremely tired ever since last Saturday's 12-mile run. I'm rarely tired like that. But somehow on Thursday I felt much better and had a great run--my longest pre-work run I've ever done. I skipped my strength workout on Thursday and took a total rest day on Friday. I increased my carbs and took Lacey's suggestion to add an iron supplement. The combination of all those seemed to help, because I feel completely fine now and ended the week really strong.

Week 13 Grade:A

I did 45 minutes of strength training in the morning and 50 minutes of yin yoga in the evening.

Easy run: 6 miles, 1:15, 12:38 pace
It was 54F with a light rain off and on but felt good. My legs were tight at first and I was tired, but then my legs joined the party and I felt okay.

I usually wear my hair very short but have been letting it grow, and this week was the first time I started wearing it in a little ponytail!
Lulu Clear Mint Swiftly Short Sleeve, Flash Bangbuster, Black Chase Me Crops

Pace run: 6 miles, 1:12
My notes from my running log say crappy run. I woke up to the sound of pouring rain, plus I was pretty tired, so my motivation for this run was replaced with dread. My only waterproof--as opposed to just water resistant--running rain jacket is for cooler weather. Even though it was 58F, I opted for dry instead of cool and headed out into the hard, soaking rain. The rain stopped completely before the end of my warm-up mile, so I was able to take off my jacket and wrap it around my waist and was dry and comfortable after that. Wednesdays are my speedwork days, but for these last few weeks before the race I'll be substituting my usual speedwork with pace runs. I had four miles on the schedule, and they were all tough. I just couldn't find my pace and was either slowing down or speeding up, and it just felt really hard. Target was 11:00 and splits were 11:12, 10:55, 10:55, and 10:55. I was absolutely drained in my cool-down mile and for the rest of the day. But, I got it done when I didn't want to and when I was tired, and that's all that matters.

Note: No photo since I was cranky because of the rain. But here's one of two of my kitties cuddling. :-)

I did about 10 minutes of yoga in the evening.

Easy run: 7 miles, 1:26, 12:20 pace
I was looking forward to an easy run, and this run felt really good. This is the longest I've ever run before work, and I felt good the whole run. It was 58F and not raining, which was awesome. I took a gel halfway through, and I think that helped with both energy and hunger, since I'm typically really hungry on early-morning runs.
Athleta Sparkling Purple Chi Top & Asphalt Be Free Knickers
Lulu Pretty Purple All Sport Bra
Fabletics headband

Rest day! Aside from taking my dog on a long walk, this was a true rest day. I had the day off work and spent most of it putting away winter clothes and taking out and washing summer clothes. Getting out all my running skirts was like saying hello to old friends. I can't wait to run in skirts again!

Long run: 10.06 miles, 1:55, 11:29 pace
Our local running club, Steel City Road Runners, had a course preview run, with a 10-mile half marathon preview and 20-mile full marathon preview. I'd planned to do this run for a while but wasn't looking forward to it too much. It was cooler on Saturday morning--43F, feels like 38--so I was worried about being cold since I planned to walk from my house to Downtown and back, since the run started in Market Square. It takes about a half-hour to walk to Downtown. I erred on the side of being too warm and wore full-length tights but with mesh in the backs of the legs, a tank, and a long sleeve half-zip with built-in mittens so I didn't need to wear gloves. It ended up being perfect. I wasn't too cold walking there and back, and when it got warmer during the run, I just pushed up my sleeves and was never too hot.

I met Amanda at the start, who was running the 20-mile route, and we saw and talked to Shaun. There were 400 people there!

There were pacers for each of the routes, and Amanda and I joined the 12:00 pace groups, who ran together before the courses split in the Northside just a few miles into the run. Our little group was the best! I ran with a fantastic group of ladies, all of whom I really enjoyed talking to. Nancy was one of our pace leaders, and her father was running in our group. He is 73 and doing the Pittsburgh Half as his first half marathon! Nancy usually runs faster and her watch was off, so I kept tabs on my Garmin and kept slowing the group down when we went too fast. I've only done the course to Smithfield Street Bridge so the long stretch on Carson Street, the Birmingham Bridge, and the hill up Forbes Avenue were all new to me. Birmingham Bridge is a pretty long incline and because it's followed by hills, I know I really need to save my energy and not go out too fast in the race. The hill up Forbes Avenue wasn't as bad as I expected. It was steep but short, so very doable. Our route didn't follow the actual race course up the Boulevard of the Allies, but from the road we were on I could see how it climbed for a while. Seeing just how far it climbed scared me a little. When our group got to the top of the hill on Forbes, we all cheered, and when we passed what will be the finish line on Wood Street, we raised our arms and cheered again. For all the slowing down we did, we still averaged an 11:29 pace, and my Garmin shows the last mile at a 10:36 pace. Overall it was a really fun run on a beautiful, cool, sunny morning, I felt great the whole time, and I got to talk to some really nice people.

This is the trail by my house I usually run on. It's usually dark when I run, so because it was
light and I had my phone, I took some pics. The trail goes along the Allegheny River,
and Downtown Pittsburgh is in the background.

Another view of the trail. These are the three "sister" (because they look alike) bridges that I
run across almost every run.
All the runners gathered in Market Square before the run

Amanda and me before the run.

Shaun, Amanda, and me before the run.
Some of the ladies in the 12:00 pace group I ran with, taken after we finished.

After the run I did the recovery yoga video from Runner's World. In the afternoon we took Django on a long walk over to West Park and back.
Even though it was on the cool side, Django was hot and
cranky and refused to look at the camera.
He's good like that.

Pace run: 8.5 miles, 1:32
I had 7 miles at race pace (11:00) on the schedule. Even though I woke up feeling good and not tired, I was a little worried about being able to do all 7 given how hard my last two pace runs were. I told myself that if it was too hard, I could take .25-mile rests in between, but I wanted to get all 7 in. I wanted to do the Carson Street-Birmingham Bridge-Forbes Ave. hill part of the route again to get more familiar with it. I went through Downtown to the Smithfield Street Bridge then got on Carson Street from there. It was 51 and sunny and was just a gorgeous morning with a nice cool breeze to keep me from getting too hot. After a mile warm-up, I had no problem hitting and holding my race pace. In fact, it felt really easy, and I had to keep putting on the brakes when I found myself going to fast. I brought music again, and again I think it really helped the miles go quickly and easily. So this is why people listen to music when they run--duh! I got to the Birmingham Bridge, and just like the day before, I thought it was a killer, but I didn't have a problem sticking to my race pace. Off the bridge I started up the hill on Forbes Ave., and again I was surprised that it felt so doable. I had no problem keeping to my race pace. Today I decided to follow the race course out to the Boulevard of the Allies, even though I didn't think there would be a sidewalk to run on. I was pleasantly surprised that there was! So I ran that hill--the second part of the big hill in the last few miles of the course. I am sure these hills will feel tougher on race day since they come at the very end, but I didn't think it was bad at all! It is long but not steep and reminded me of the bridge inclines. I had no problem keeping to my race pace to the very top to Duquesne University. Then I cut down through the campus onto Forbes and made my way back through Downtown and to home from there. After the hill, I was so excited that I was able to run it so easily and felt so amazing in general that I let myself run faster the last two miles. Splits were 1: 10:04 (I don't believe this is accurate, since my lap pace registered around a 10:50 the entire mile and only jumped down to 10:00 in the last .03 mile. And when I downloaded my data, my Garmin said my best pace in this mile was 3:42, which I find very doubtful!) 2: 10:45, 3: 10:51, 4: 10:53, 5: 10:50 (the mile with the hill!!!), 6: 10:20, 7: 10:10. This was just a fantastic, fun run on a gorgeous day that really boosted my confidence for the final big hill in the course.

At this point, I have run the entire course except for the portion through the West End and I am feeling really confident with the course. I know where to save my energy for the uphills and inclines and when I can speed up on the downhills and flat parts. And, The Hill that scares everyone at the end doesn't seem very scary. I'm confident that I'll be able to conquer it on race day!

Lulu Mauvelous Run for Gold 1/2 Zip (perfect for this run because it was thin and had
a lot of mesh under the arms, on the sides, and in the back to keep me cool),
Purple Fog Bangbuster, Black Chase Me Crops
In the afternoon we took Django on a walk in Schenley Park. It was over 60F and a bit too hot for him, so shortly after my husband took this picture, he found a mud puddle and promptly laid down in it. His belly, butt, and legs were covered in mud, so he got a bath when we got home. This was his first bath of the year, and he loved it! He gets really excited and runs around in circles when he's done.
Fabletics Spacedye Salar Capri
Lulu Winter Orchid Scoop Neck Tank

This week is my last peak week! I'll have another 13-mile run at the end of the week and should reach 40 miles. Then it's time to taper. Almost there!

Have a great week running and working out!

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